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Culinary Central

Guide to Cooking Like a Chef in Florida

December 10, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Miami 0 Comments

The Florida culinary scene includes everything from deep southern dishes to Cuban fare. Whether you like fried greens or Cuban sandwiches, there is certainly something for everyone here. And if your goal is to cook like a Florida chef, then understand that this could mean cooking many different things.

Follow the Pros

Some of the more notorious Florida chefs include cooking legends include Justin Timineri and John-Pierre whom both cover extensive Florida cooking and baking tips on their Web sites. Here are a couple of excerpts:

Justin Timineri is Executive Chef and Culinary Ambassador for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. On his Web site he posts many kitchen tips and insights from the perspective of a Florida chef, such as: white foods including celery, garlic, and white wine will lower cholesterol and work fight risks associated with some types of cancer making white foods an must-eat part of your menu.

Florida Chef John-Pierre, a regular television personality for cooking related programming, who lives and works in Ft. Lauderdale, includes in a recipe for Roasted Portobello with Balsamic Glaze that the mushrooms should be tossed in a glass or stainless steel bowl only. Glass and stainless steel are considered non-reactive materials and won’t interfere with your ingredients. Your ingredients won’t interfere with your cookware either!

Be a Culinary Star at Home

Aside from expert advice from the FL culinary world, there are a few basic cooking and baking steps you can take at home to cook like a Florida chef too. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Oranges are a popular Florida fruit especially since the orange tree grows so well in certain parts of the state. An orange slice adds a nice twist to many drinks and dishes. When choosing an orange you hope is juicy, make sure the fruit feels heavy and that the peel is not perfectly smooth. A little green on the peel is a good thing too.
  • Grouper, which a similar to sea bass, is commonly found in Florida’s warm waters and it makes for great fish sandwiches. Whether grouper is blackened or fried, don’t forget to finish your grouper off with a squeeze of lemon. By adding lemon to any fish, you bring out certain aromas and flavors you might not have tasted.
  • Fried chicken is a favorite in the South. For the best skins possible, try refrigerating your coated chicken for one hour before you do the actual frying.
  • Like oranges, key limes are also a Florida favorite for baking and cooking. More specifically, key lime pie is a Florida specialty. If you don’t live in the Florida Keys, then it might be difficult to get your hands on those infamous key limes. The larger limes that are commonly found in grocery stores can work as a great alternative. Just be sure to use freshly squeezed lime juice. Bottled lime juice just won’t taste the same.

Whether you aspire to be a Florida chef or an expert in Florida baking, the tips don’t stop here. Continue experimenting with recipes and searching for ingredients found at your typical Florida farmer’s market for an authentic taste.

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